Several moments in our life, we’ve come to stumble into the dullest places where we feel like getting so much cornered and defeated; that we couldn’t almost see where to head along, and it’s almost seems to be so blurry about where to gather strength anymore.
People in general are weak. Ideally, we are once too weak that we ended up soaked in our own tears and being so much tired that we unintentionally long for an eternal rest. But then again, another morning comes our way. Our eyes were all dried up, and our only apparent choice was to stand up and face the day in whatever measure of our present emotion was. People are weak, but what weak people only really want to seek is strength. And what we seek is what we receive (Matthew 7:7).
One summer night at our home, I’ve read a tweet from a random friend about him being completely amazed about a movie called The Encounter. As what I can also recall from his tweet, it was about the love and grace of Jesus and how he was dumbfounded by it. To make the long story short, I became curious about it. I searched up on the internet and gladly ended up to the search results where a two-hour movie was shown to me. Somehow, I just happened to screenshot it because I remember being busy with schoolwork that I thought I didn’t have yet the free time to watch a movie. But then again just recently, I got to skim through my phone gallery and got to see the screenshot of the movie, and finally getting the “time” to watch it even though it was 1am in the morning.
Warning: The following contains a major spoiler, so if you have plans to watch the movie firsthand, you may skip the summary and jump to the actual movie review. (Or just stop reading now :).)
☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★
The movie was called The Encounter. My pre-reactions about the title itself was, what could it be all about? If [my friend’s tweet] was that it’s about the greatness of Jesus, could it be about encountering Jesus Himself? That went through my mind until I was actually held up tight on my phone and found myself so much into the movie that I honestly teared up halfway through to it.
The story goes through a group of people who was stuck in a remote area in the middle of the woods late at night because of a flood that makes it impossible for them to drive across the route. The group includes a wealthy (and not to mention — filthy and so full of himself) businessman named Nick, a couple with a failing marriage named Hank and Catherine, a woman named Melissa who drove many miles away to reach her boyfriend from a far away city, and another young woman who was in total distress and in period of rebellion named Kayla. The group, just to mention, doesn’t know about each other and drives in different cars of themselves (except with the couple). They just happened to stumble upon each other that night.
The group have somehow ended up in a small diner which was oddly called The Last Chance Diner. Once inside, the rain started to fall heavily which made the diner a much cozy and a safer place for them to stay for the night. They went separate seats. And oddly enough, the man who stands behind the counter was named ‘Jesus’ as what his name tag says. Naturally, when we hear about someone by the name of Jesus, we will think of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And that was what happened inside the diner. Melissa first curiously asked about it and of course, all of them went doubtful and crazy when this man by the name of Jesus started telling them a very detailed information about each of them that it seemed like he was actually Jesus, God’s Son.
Jesus knew about the failing marriage of Hank and Catherine. Hank, as a believer of Christ, believed that He really is Jesus and cried about asking for Him to save his marriage. Jesus gave him a certain smile and told him not to worry, for Catherine will come back and his marriage will be saved because he believes and because he had prayerfully asked.
Jesus knew about Melissa’s mindless hope of getting married with her present boyfriend. But little did she knew, Jesus has greater plans for her life that getting married with her present boyfriend was none of it. Melissa’s heart had fallen out of great disbelief and frustration, for Jesus said that she just can’t marry a man who will make her drive many miles away. Jesus told her that as a woman, she must be sacred and precious. Melissa trusted Him, and believed about His promises of greater plans for her life, even though being married with her present boyfriend will be none of it.
Jesus knew about Kayla’s rebellion. He knew about what happened with her relationship with her family that made her ran away. But Jesus had made it certain to her that everything will be fine as long as she believes in His plans for her, that He loves her and only wanted the best for her. Kayla believed in Him, and forgave all of those who had hurt her.
And lastly, Jesus knew about Nick’s unfaithful heart. He knew about how distant he is from God’s love and how he is so self-centered that he proclaims about being able to stand alone in life without Jesus as his light. But Jesus made him know that He has always been so forgiving of him and that He will always be willing to accept him as long as he accepts Him likewise. Nevertheless, Nick was stubborn enough that when an anonymous police suddenly arrived at the diner and told them that the road is now open to cross, Nick believed and went out of the diner disregarding Jesus’ warning that the police was only lying and it was still very dangerous to go. With an obvious disappointed heart, Jesus let him go as he abides through the devil’s lies (with whom was the police).
The rest of the group was then left struck highly in faith of Jesus, that each of them accepts His everlasting love, that with wherever in earth they would be, Jesus will always be there to listen and answer. When the morning came and the storm was over, Jesus let them go with an overwhelming feeling of love, security, and promises planted onto their willing hearts. When the group drove back to the route that was blocked last night, another police was right there to block the way, saying that it wasn’t the flood this time … but is that a businessman by the name of Nick died in an accident last night. The group had somehow saw it coming, although still feeling so much surprised.
They however went through their own ways thereafter. Trusting Jesus’ promises of great plans for each of their lives, they moved on and followed His words until the rest of their time on earth.
☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★
The movie, generally, was life-changing for me. As a believer myself, everything that happened on the movie has went through my heart and all over me like a pail of a really cold water that was splashed on me to wake my resting faith up. To be honest, I can say that I am not really the kind of Christian that goes to church every Sunday. I don’t regularly read and consult the bible for my everyday circumstances, although I am knowledgeable about different scriptures and passages. But that doesn’t mean I am turning my back to my faith of God’s existence because that will be the last thing for me to proclaim in this life. Somehow, I was thankful about this advancements in our present technology that I could easily download Bible applications and daily devotionals (check Our Daily Bread) apps as well. Going back to my point, I am not a perfect Christian. I know I am a sinner and the only thing I can do about it was to ask Him forgiveness. What exactly is making me glad is that Jesus will always accept us as long as we ask Him to. Well, that doesn’t mean we’re free to perform sins as we like; it’s always up to us and us alone if we continue being a disgrace for Christ that we take advantage of His grace and everlasting forgiveness.
I’ve read few movie reviews about this movie too. Many people have given it five stars (six if possible) because it has overwhelmed them as much as it did to me. However, I’ve read this one review about these people giving perfect stars and reviews for the movie “because they are Christians“. I honestly was taken aback, thinking that this person has a point, somehow. Those people did not actually reviewed the movie according to its excellence in videography whatsoever— they reviewed it for its emotional and spiritual effect on them. I could give that commentator three stars with his/her point, but I won’t give him five stars because of his insensible opinion. Doing movie reviews is not just about how perfect and impeccable was the lighting, the casting, the acting, etc. It is also about how it affected you as the viewer/audience.
Should you be a Christian to only appreciate the message of the movie? I think not. Many people, I believe, will love the movie even though they aren’t Christian. It just happens, as natural as it could be, that Christians will watch the movie because it is the point of their interest. Making the message of the movie to be so clear and overwhelmingly life-changing to them — that had them giving a perfect movie score.
So, for me not to sound hypocritical, I will give my own score reviews according to the movie’s videography/cinematography (and all that stuff).
I’m giving an honest and truthful three stars [★★★☆☆] for cinematography. The movie was clear and calm in the eyes as a viewer. Although I guess it would be much appealing if the colors were made a little brighter, effects was gotten a little realistic, … and yeah, you get the point. But the credit for effort all goes to everyone involved in making the movie satisfactory presentable.
Most importantly, I’m giving an honest and truthful five stars [★★★★★] for the message of the movie. I am a believer of God, and it may sound bias but I am not ever taking back that decision. If a non-believer would be giving the movie a score as well, I know and am certain to expect that they can’t give a perfect score. They may understand the message and may appreciate the cinematography of the movie, but it will not be so surprising for them to still give a below four stars score. Merely understanding and appreciation sometimes aren’t enough to show how a certain movie has affected you. It always come through the heart and its utter impact to you.
I gave a perfect score for the message because as I’ve been saying, the movie has taught me how broadly eternal Jesus’ love is for us. No matter how sinful we are just like Nick, Jesus will always have an open heart to accept us back as long as we will be willing to. I’m just sad that it seem like that it always go through our self decisions. Nick decided to turn his back from Jesus and believed that he can get all the opulence in life alone. Jesus did His best to make it clear to Nick that it is never too late to surrender his life to God, but then again, Nick declined and that was the end of him.
And with the cases of Hank and Catherine, Kayla, and Melissa, it’s all about trusting Him with His plans towards our life on earth. I’ve been through many trials in life that giving up has surely made it to be one of my desperate choices. However, choosing God has always been my safe zone. I have long chosen to surrender my life and future to Him, that with whatever fallout I may encounter, God is already at the end line waiting for me. All I got in my suitcase is a heart full of faith and trust, that I got Him as my only ever faithful companion.
This is too long, I know. But thank you so much for reading up until here. I hope you can watch the movie as well and share your sentiments to me at the comment section.
God bless you! 🙂